Many of us have fears that a steely-eyed robot will make our jobs obsolete, but some are more at risk than others. Office workers, like those in insurance, might feel safer than folks in the auto industry, for example. But insurance workers’ often-predictable tasks of data analysis might be the ones that IBM’s Watson is eagerly eyeing from the wings (when he’s not hanging around with Bob Dylan, naturally).
Insurance Workers Are at Risk
If you’re in the insurance industry, and you don’t think you’re in danger of being replaced by automation, you could be dead wrong. In fact, insurance involves precisely the kind of predictable office work that’s ripe for a computer program to take over. In a CNBC article, Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute remarked that “50 percent of the overall time of the workforce in finance and insurance is devoted to collecting and processing data, where the technical potential for automation is high.”
Insurance Company Offers Workers a Way Out: Retraining
If you think your job is at risk, don’t despair. Your employer might take a longer view of your prospects. One major insurance company in Britain is already getting ahead of possible automation changes in its job roster. Aviva is actually asking their 16,000 employees about whether they think their job could be done better by a robot. While this might seem a terrifying admission for a worker to make, Aviva is offering to then retrain those employees for new positions.
Chui also thinks that this is exactly the right approach when the robots come calling. Having sophisticated machinery taking over number crunching “would free up mortgage advisors to focus more of their time on advising clients rather than routine processing,” for example, said Chui. “Both the customer and the mortgage institution get greater value.”
Get a Job That Pays Better
Instead of being stuck in a career you’re afraid is going to sail away to robot island, think about the benefits of having a job that isn’t about data processing. PayScale’s salary data show that the median salary for an insurance claims analyst is around $51,000 per year. With a job as an insurance underwriter, earnings start at a median of $53,000 per year — but with a path to a larger salary as a mortgage loan underwriter, who earns $62,000 per year, or a senior underwriter, who earns a median salary of $77,000 per year. See PayScale’s Career Path Explorer for more details on options, or take our free Salary Survey to learn how much you could be earning.
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